Game Review #2: It Takes Two
This game was said to be the next “Portal 2” in terms of cooperative puzzle solving fun, and it was definitely quite a fun game to playthrough. The problem with that comparison however is that I think the structure of the games is quite different, portal 2 is a puzzle game with a story whereas it takes two is a story game with puzzles. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with that but the puzzles in portal 2 were the main focus, and everything was put together in a way to enhance the puzzles. It takes two on the other hand, makes the puzzles feel more as a tool to enhance the story, which again there is nothing wrong with but from my perspective makes them quite fundamentally different despite both being cooperative puzzle games.
That being said I am quite a puzzle purist meaning I enjoy the puzzle aspects of any game and especially in a puzzle game will judge the game mainly on the creativity and fun of the puzzles. I do like story games but I tend to either hyper focus on the story or just passively go along with it in most games that I play. It takes two is still a good game though, and despite the story focused direction it still has some great puzzles and excellent minigame system that really made the game enjoyable.
The story starts off with a couple deciding to divorce and their daughter being sad about it and accidentally summons a magic book to fix their marriage. It makes a lot more sense when you play the game but you and your partner get transformed into toys made by the daughter and the magic book is almost like a DnD DM where he is creating problems for them to solve but with each chapter sort of having an overall goal.
The parents as characters aren’t that interesting, but the magic book is easily my favourite character in the game. His name is Dr. Hakim and he is just kinda trolling the parents the whole time while they complain about each other and getting them to look at things from a different perspective. There is no set setting as there is a lot of magic involved so you are thrown into different worlds constantly.
Now let’s get to the good part, the puzzles. What’s the gimmick? How do they work? Well the way puzzles are handled aside from basic platforming puzzles is in every area you would get a new power with your partner getting a different power. Stuff like one character having Mjolnir nails with the other having a hammer, napalm honey with a match stick and other combinations of stuff that changed the way the puzzles were constructed and made them fresh and interesting every time you went to a new area. It also means that the fun of the puzzles is capped by how interesting the powers you got were. For the most part they were pretty interesting but some weren’t that good, my favourite was definitely the time control one though.
In terms of difficulty I would say the game is quite easy, none of the boss fights were that challenging and I think that is mainly due to the decision to have death be relatively quickly remedied and a load to last checkpoint only happens if both players die at the same time. I think throughout the entire game there was only one instance where I died fully with my partner and even that was more due to coincidence rather than actual difficulty. Now is that a bad thing? I’m not sure, and it ties into my next point which is relating to who the game was intended for in terms of age.
I would say about 95% of the game feels intended for kids but there’s a few story elements that are extremely gruesome for a kids game. SPOILERS skip to next paragraph but there is a part where you force a sentient vacuum to suck out both of its eyeballs ‘killing’ it, as well as a part where you are essentially tasked with “killing” a toy elephant queen and instead of it being a boss fight you just start ripping off it’s limbs before throwing off the castle in essentially a one sided beat down.
So yea, there are some parts which are really brutal but I feel the game is best played by kids which makes the difficulty being low completely fine.
Last but not least my favourite part of the game, the minigames. It takes two utilizes the magical setting by having a magic tambourine mark where there is an opportunity for you to compete with your partner in a variety of games, and I enjoyed this part immensely. We played every single minigame that we found which was 17/25 I think and only 1 did we not play more than once. Some are more balanced than others but again I think that’s ok it’s not meant to be min maxed it’s just meant to be a fun break from the normal gameplay and it achieved that excellently.
Overall I think the game was quite good, and considering good puzzle coop games are quite rare I think this game did a pretty good job at creating an interesting set of puzzles to solve together. I would give it a rating of 6.5/10, mainly due to the excellent minigames. The difficulty not being super high is not my personal preference despite what I said about it being fine. I mentioned my preference to the puzzles over the story which also knocks it down a bit, and the concept of the story being seemingly too childlike it didn’t really interest me that much. I would recommend it though and I think it’s a fun game.